Accused killer of U student Mackenzie Lueck pleads not guilty in earlier sexual assault case

Ayoola Adisa Ajayi. Photo: Court pool

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 20, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The man accused in the death of 23-year-old University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck pleaded not guilty on Friday to assaulting a woman more than a year earlier, and has been ordered to stand trial in that case.

Ayoola Adisa Ajayi, 31, had been charged in the sexual assault alleged to have happened on or about March 10, 2018.

The victim says she and Ajayi communicated online, and agreed to meet for a date at his residence for dinner. After dinner, Ajayi made unwanted advances, prevented her from leaving, and assaulted and raped her, the probable cause statement says.

Through his attorney, Ajayi pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony; and three counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

Third District Judge Vernice Trease ruled that there was sufficient evidence on each charge to warrant a trial. The case is scheduled to go to trial in February.

Law enforcement officials have said the victim came forward after seeing Ajayi in the news after the murder of Lueck.

Lueck case

MacKenzie Lueck. Photo: Facebook

The death of Lueck is estimated to have happened on or about June 17 — the day Lueck flew home from visiting her family in California, and asked her Uber driver to take her to North Salt Lake’s Hatch Park.

She got in a car and left with someone she had possibly arranged to meet. Cell phone records placed Ajayi in the same location at that time.

Evidence recovered later found items consistent with Lueck’s belongings and body tissue in a firepit in Ajayi’s back yard. The rest of her body later was found in Logan Canyon, near where Ajayi previously had attended Utah State University.

In the case of Lueck’s death, Ajayi faces charges of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony; obstructing justice, a second-degree felony; abuse or desecration of a dead human body, a third-degree felony.

Ajayi also faces charges in a third case, based on images found on his devices when the search warrant was served in the Lueck case. He has been charged with 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, related to child pornography allegedly found in his possession.

A Salt Lake County Sheriff official ushers Ayoola Ajayi into the court room for a December 2019 hearing. Photo: Court pool

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